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Watch | PETA India gifts robotic elephant to Kerala temple: ‘Lifelike’

Jun 22, 2024 07:25 PM IST

The Kerala Story actress Adah Sharma donates mechanical elephant to Pournamikavu Temple with PETA India to promote animal welfare

PETA India has donated a life-size mechanical elephant to the Pournamikavu Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. It will be used in all temple ceremonies, allowing real jumbos to stay in the wild with their families. The temple held an inauguration ceremony featuring traditional performances, the animal rights body said on Saturday.

PETA India donates life-size mechanical elephant to Kerala temple.(PETA India)
PETA India donates life-size mechanical elephant to Kerala temple.(PETA India)

Actor Adah Sharma, famous for her role in "The Kerala Story", collaborated with PETA to donate a mechanical elephant, Baladhasan, to the temple in “recognition of the temple’s decision never to own or hire live elephants”.

Baladhasan, the mechanical elephant, will perform in all temple ceremonies, allowing real elephants to stay with their families in the jungle homes, where they belong, PETA India said.

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“Technological progress allows us to preserve our deep cultural traditions and heritage while allowing elephants, who are endangered, to live with their families in the jungle. I am delighted to contribute this mechanical elephant with PETA India, enabling followers to participate in sacred rituals in a manner that is both safe for humans and respectful of animals”, said Adah Sharma in a statement.

“On this auspicious Pournami day, we are delighted to have mechanical elephant Baladhasan with us in honour of all the divine creatures who yearn to roam the earth free and secure with their loved ones,” said Pournamikavu Temple Mukya Karyadarshi MS Bhuvanachandran.

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'Adopt mechanical elephants to prevent cruelty': PETA India

PETA India encouraged other venues to adopt mechanical elephants to prevent cruelty against live elephants, who often suffer in captivity due to harsh training and poor living conditions.

“Many elephants in captivity in India… Many have extremely painful foot ailments and leg wounds from being chained on concrete for hours on end, and most do not get adequate food, water, or veterinary care – let alone any semblance of a natural life,” it said.

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Three life-size mechanical elephants are already in use. They include Irinjadappilly Raman at the Irinjadappilly Sree Krishna Temple in Thrissur, Mahadevan at the Thrikkayil Mahadeva Temple in Kochi, and Shiva at the Jagadguru Sri Veerasimhasana Mahasamsthana Math in Mysuru. A fourth robotic elephant, Shankara Hariharan, was donated to the Sree Sankaran temple in Gudalur by the founding executive director of Voices for Asian Elephants, PETA India's statement said.

PETA India advocated for retiring captive elephants to sanctuaries where they can live freely and recover from the trauma of captivity. The Pournamikavu Temple, known for its unique and large idols, is the latest to embrace this compassionate change.

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